Two fresh graduates of the Evening Degree programme at the University of St Andrews have been singled out for their special commitment throughout their course. The duo are unusually the first to be jointly honoured by Fife Council’s Provost’s Prize.
Kirk Graham and Manuel Morales Perez were nominated Evening Degree Students of the Year 2005- 06 after organisers could not pick one over the other.
The prize, in its sixth year, is granted to those who have persevered and flourished in their degree course, often in spite of challenging circumstances. Kirk and Manuel follow on from last year’s winner, Margaret Ferguson, a 62 year old grandmother of five from Canada.
Kirk Graham spent 25 years with the same building systems company in Kirkcaldy, until it closed down its manufacturing operations in Scotland and all the staff were made redundant. In his subsequent employment, Kirk felt that his experience was being wasted, so he decided to get a recognised qualification through the Evening Degree programme.
He joined the University in 2001 and took modules in English, IT, Psychology, Philosophy, History, Art History, Divinity, Environmental Geography and Human Biology, before finally graduating with an M.A. General degree in June 2006. His wife Alice was so impressed by how much self-esteem and confidence he’d gained that she signed on for the Evening Degree too, and is about to start her fourth year.
Manuel Morales Perez qualified as an electro-technician in Spain and took an HNC in Art & Design when he came to Scotland. But it was while working as a janitor at the University of St Andrews that Manuel was inspired to become a part-time student himself in 2002. He studied Art History, English, History, Physics & Astronomy, Psychology and Biology, before also graduating in June with an M.A. General degree.
Of the winners, Alison Andrews, Co- ordinator of Part-time Degrees, said:
“Kirk had a difficult time this year with a family bereavement, but he never missed handing in an essay and has never taken any leave of absence in the five years of his part-time degree. We were particularly impressed with Manuel because he completed this whole degree in his third language – he’s from Barcelona, and speaks Catalan and Spanish.”
An official reception was held in St Andrews last night (Thursday 14th September 2006), and was attended by the Provost, Councillor John Simpson, the University’s Co-ordinator of Part- time Degrees, Alison Andrews, Director of Continuing Education, Alex Rougvie, the Dean of Science, Professor Phil Winn, the Dean of Arts, Professor Lorna Milne, and Pro Deans Dr Robert Wilson, Dr Ian Smith and Dr Crichton Lang.
The reception was also in honour of the 35 new students about to begin their part-time degree studies this year, and Professor Lorna Milne welcomed them to the University.
The Evening Degree programme is aimed at adults over the age of 21, and a General MA degree can be obtained within three to nine years, depending on prior qualifications and whether the student prefers to study one or two sessions a week. The first cohort of part-time students graduated in 2004.
Students returning to study after a gap are eased back into the way of things with a specially- designed study skills programme at the start of the course. Various financial arrangements are also in place to help those on low incomes take advantage of this flexible academic programme.
Further information about the degree course can be obtained from Alison Andrews, Co-ordinator of Part-time Degrees: Continuing Education, Admissions, St Katherine’s West, The Scores KY16 9AX, telephone 01334 462203, email@example.com
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